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Thread: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

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    The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Today, due to a lack of time and not being able to grind properly fatigued I was forced to buy a coffee outside. I went to one of the places Id drunk coffee before and thought it was pretty reasonable. I ordered a cup, starving for my coffee by 8am.

    The result as you can guess was a coffee so hot I think I lost flesh from the inside of my cheeks.... :o It looked ok, but the froth soon disappeared to reveal boiled milk, unpleasant carmelised lactose, and some other flavour vaguely resembling coffee, pretty similar to nescafe blend 43.

    As disgusting and undrinkable as this coffee was, it was probably not unlike dozens Id drunk before. But this time it was so unbearable to me because I know how much better coffee can be. It was simply inexcusable that anyone was selling that crap for any price let alone almost $4! :-X I refused to taint the holy sanctum which is my stomach with such an abomination and decided no caffeine fix was ever worth that.

    Come on! If I can make something nice with my $76 Gaggia and some badly charred and under-roasted beans whats your excuse standing behind a $14k machine? If I never drop coin in a coffee establishment again it will not be a sad day. Long live home espresso...even home espresso on crappy equipment... ;D

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Amen.

    There is no excuse for selling bad coffee, and once youve "seen the light" its very hard to tolerate people who do.

    Ive introduced a few colleagues to the world of speciality coffee; I think for some its a case of "why, oh why, didnt I take the blue pill".

    Ignorance is bliss. ;)

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Thats why you need to know where to go to get coffee. Sites like these are great for scouting out. Also meeting fellow coffee aficionados who go out is great too.

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A5E4D4F584D405F43424A455E492C0 link=1330755650/2#2 date=1330780842
    Thats why you need to know where to go to get coffee. Sites like these are great for scouting out. Also meeting fellow coffee aficionados who go out is great too.
    That also assumes I have relative freedom n my workday to do so. I dont, i am required by my job to be in certain locations at certain hours and I can assure you that airports are not generally great places to get coffee. But needs must.

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    KJM
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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6F5068434149220 link=1330755650/1#1 date=1330761991
    Ive introduced a few colleagues to the world of speciality coffee; I think for some its a case of "why, oh why, didnt I take the blue pill".
    I regularly get scolded by one particularly caffeine addicted colleague over this... Mind you, I wouldnt be roasting my own if it wasnt for the Hazbeans.... Hmmm. Where exactly is that blue pill 8-)

    /Kevin

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    Senior Member Thirteen13's Avatar
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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Ahh, there are people out there who think the same as me!

    I too have fallen victim to being a snob! I see all those franchise coffee chains (Which we all know) and shudder to think how bad there coffee tastes!

    This other thought came to mind of having a CS meet and greet at all different coffee shops so all like minded coffee drinkers can get together and chat about coffee and also sample different cafes and there offers.

    This other thought of cafe owners seeing the CSers coming to drink there coffee.
    "OH NO run for cover, here come the snobs"

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Thats both life and reality fellas and there is nothing new in it. Just like you might get top service from washing machine repairer A, and get crap service from washing machine repairer B. I am afraid you have to sample the service before knowing what the outcome will be, and may I suggest that to stop going to all cafes and sit at home by yourself just to savour the coffee is not realistic.*

    Clients mostly do not go to a cafe to savour the coffee. They go for other reasons including the food, and certainly the social networking. There is usually a whole other thing happening besides the coffee, and may I suggest that in my experience, it is only when the coffee really is bad that your mind is drawn to make that kind of observation (ie "...this coffee is really bad..."). Mostly, as long as all else is going correctly, a "reasonable" coffee will suffice ( as opposed to one that really is bad).

    That is my experience from the business end of coffee, and I study the "degrees of acceptability" in a cup of coffee. If you cant have a degree of understanding, then you should only go to known coffee houses not common garden variety cafes.

    So ok, some of you including myself have been in cafes where the coffee was absolutely monstrous.* You vote with your feet & dont go back. Simple. That doesnt mean you stop going to cafes, period.

    As to CS people descending on cafes I am afraid that is not an answer unless you / we have been invited as a group by the business owner, usually resulting in you approaching the cafe owner first with something in mind. Otherwise there is the very real threat of intimidation of the cafe owner which is not really a good idea.

    Hope that helps.

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    I am convinced that the vast majority of people who do visit cafes have not yet had a great cup.

    These people dont know what coffee CAN taste like.

    That is the reason why so many cafes are able to turn out ordinary or even crap coffee day after day and get away with it. These cafe owners probably havent had a great cup yet either....or if they have and ARE turning out crap....shame on them.


    Congratulations, Claraflo....you truly are a Coffeesnob! Welcome.

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Ok, I see the problem here. Most of you are still under the misaprehension that a cafe has something to do with coffee when in actual fact in most instances, a cafe is primarily a food business that has a coffee machine in the corner. Dont get coffee houses and cafes mixed up. There are very few coffee houses around.

    There is no shame in ordinary cafe owners turning out mediocre coffee.* Usually they dont know any better (reasons I wont go into here without turning this into a book size post) and the standard of coffee education is still a long way behind where it should be. That said, it is also a long way forward of where it used to be and getting better all the time. The great majority of the clientelle is just as much to blame as the cafes because they apparently accept a low standard and coffee educ is just as much required there.

    Notwithstanding, when you work out a way of instantly flooding the cafe market with your high standard of coffee making and instantly fixing this scenario, please do share it here with the rest of us so we can implement immediately because I can assure you, coffee merchants are 100% behind you in wanting to upgrade the way their clients "interpret" their products. Unfortunately, many clients adopt the attitude that they know better than their suppliers.......

    In the meantime how about being champions of glass half full mentality instead of glass half empty, chaps? "The problem" is not as bad as it used to be and coffee awareness is growing...... That is a positive, Rome wasnt built in a day, and you cant just shove your type of "coffee awareness" down peoples throats unless they first understand and accept what you are on about. That requires cooperation rather than an us/them mentality.

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Im sorry fresh coffee if this post offended it really was more tongue in cheek than serious. :-? All of what you say is perfectly valid but my post was more about a sudden awareness within me of how much better coffee can be.

    I am aware that many things will influences an establishments ability to deliver coffee excellence. Volume and time are two glaring constraints especially in a high traffic environment like an airport. Sure people go to cafes for various reasons but a cup of drinkable is the primary reason for my visit, not the ambience, food or
    socialising.

    Honestly I am very surprised by the comparatively great results one can acheive at home on even a modest setup. And that was mostly what I was trying to articulate more than anything else. ;) that and the fact your garden variety takeaway is no longer an option for me.

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Im not sure that anyone is offended by this thread (got to be worth a chat). I think the point is simply that the margins earned by the vast majority of cafes depend largely on food/liquour with coffee being a useful sideline, that sometimes has handy spillovers into the more profitable side of the business. Nobody can pay the rent on decent sized city premises purely on coffee. Not saying thats how things should/shouldnt be....just thats how the market is and people who have borrowed against their house to start a business have to deal with the market as they see it.
    Cheers
    BOSW

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Quote Originally Posted by 52544856534C50513F0 link=1330755650/10#10 date=1330938618
    Nobody can pay the rent* on decent sized city premises purely on coffee.
    Really?...Really?? Wow, if you cant pay the rent with markup like what cafes apply to coffee then maybe you should not be in business. Selling something for around $4.50 that costs a few cents to make is as good as it gets!

    In my line of business I am lucky to see 15% markup, and I still do ok thanks very much!

    I realise that its more complex than that and turnover is a function of margin and units of sale, but I still envy the margin in coffee!

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    I think weve struck the truth of the matter here in this thread.

    Cafes are fundamentally about making money. It seems that for a long time a culture of apathy with regard to food/drink quality has existed amongst the general population. Meaning that places which turn out really below average products at often overinflated prices (Dome cafe comes to mind) are popular.

    This is starting to turn around. In Perth, I first noticed this with beer. Successful microbreweries have revolutionised the beer industry in Australia, and now all the big "megaswill" breweries are trying to cash in on the action.

    The last few years Ive noticed a lot more "gourmet" food outlets appearing, and the coffee culture has really been booming. You could put it down to people being willing to spend more on food, but I often find, when going out for breakfast somewhere that cooks real food and makes decent coffee, that its cheaper than your average run of the mill cafe.

    I find it really hard to swallow when a cafe hands me a coffee with burned milk and a breakfast I wouldnt even serve at home; especially when its overpriced. I dont go back.

    The more cafes that are run by people with a passion for quality, the harder the rest will have to work to keep up.

    So keep giving out those red pills...

    My second crack.

    (Edit: Also, have to agree with coffee_winos comments below.)

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4D4B465F474B532A0 link=1330755650/11#11 date=1330941972
    Really?...Really?? Wow, if you cant pay the rent with markup like what cafes apply to coffee then maybe you should not be in business. Selling something for around $4.50 that costs a few cents to make is as good as it gets!
    I think you will find that the total cost of that cup of coffee is quite a bit more than "a few cents".

    The coffee alone will set you back approximately 50 cents for the double shot most customers expect. Then add to that the cost of the milk, water, electricity, equipment, wages, crockery etc... and you will find that those few cents you mentioned have now grown by quite a lot. Then consider just how many cups you have to shift each day to make ends meet. For example, two hundred cups sold per day would yield you a gross income of just $900. That doesnt give you a lot to play with when it comes to meeting just the fixed and wage costs of any business. Thinking of the coffee trade as an enviable cash cow is misguided at best.

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2E28253C242830490 link=1330755650/11#11 date=1330941972
    Really?...Really?? Wow, if you cant pay the rent with markup like what cafes apply to coffee then maybe you should not be in business. Selling something for around $4.50 that costs a few cents to make is as good as it gets!
    Maybe thats why Im not in business? But seriously, I think you may have overlooked the words decent sized city premises in my original post? If you are paying the rent on a place with sufficient space for customers to sit down and eat, then the total daily contribution from coffee sales alone doesnt earn you a decent return on investment (and agree 100% with coffee_winos comments above re margin on a single cup of coffee....and then adjust your selling price downwards in many cases). At busy times, coffee-only sales can also cannibalise business from your other income streams . If you have a window in a food court / small premises with a single bench/stool set up then the cost structure is necessarily quite different. If the retail margins (in $$ as well as %ges to cost) on coffee were so great why is the smart money not following these margins? Just my second 2bits worth anyway.
    Cheers
    BOSW

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    TC
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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Yes- been there, done that...Did ok, but never again.

    Cafes are very often marginal as by the time you do the*volume to make them viable, you need another staff member. Coffee is more profitable than food, as there is usually more wastage in food.

    For anyone who thinks a cafe is a cash cow, all I can suggest is get yourself a week of work experience and then come back to us with your findings.

    Most cafe owners have to do 60+ hours. Alternately, the money is better in the bank! ;)

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Agree with cjn. Had a small juice bar many years ago so understand what these cafe owners go through in terms of meeting rent. Some days you cover the entire months rent in the one day other days you make a loss. If you calculate the amount of time you put into the business you may as well get a 9 to 5 job and work for somebody else. Which is what I ended up doing. It is satisfying to have built something and made something but at the end of the day I want to spend time with the family. The Juice bar in terms of margin was highly profitable, but guaranteeing that you would have 100+ customers a day is impossible. It depends on so many variables that you cannot control. The weather, events, holidays...the weather! Then you add up all the hours youve worked in a week and the money you made....how much do you make per hour? Easier to work for somebody else.

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Its good to see so many people here jumping in to counter the classic flawed comment above by someone looking in from the outside.

    Undoubtedly one of the main reasons why there are so many food outlets (lets call them that....it is flawed to call everything a cafe as it does make everyone think these are all businesses that have something to do with coffee, which also leads to them all thinking they are in "the coffee industry" when they are actually in the food industry and have a coffee machine the same as they have a post mix machine and a vacuum cleaner. Are they then also members of the soft drink industry or the cleaning industry?

    ........getting back to my point, one of the main reasons why food outlets very often serve less than a satisfactory cup of coffee is because the retail clients themselves have no coffee education and are accepting mediocre product. ie the general public as a whole, is not very well educated about espresso coffee. Why should they be, they are emerging from generations of instant and filter coffee use at best, and into an explosion of interest in all things coffee and espresso / cappyouchino / lartaye that is accellerating beyond imagination. Dont confuse the market as whole with your CoffeeSnobs circles and the like that have a vastly elevated stanmdard of coffee education, but that makes up only an infinitesimal part of the market as a whole.

    Put that together with big turnover of young and casual staff with little or no training, that no one is willing to spend money on to train because they will be gone in* 6 weeks, (and who are not necessarily interested anway....how many classes have I done with students that didnt want to be there or listen) and you start to get the picture. Not everyone cares.....including food outlet managers and owners.....and when was it made compulsory for them to care?

    Its all about an awareness brought about by gradual education of the total market....market place evolution.....that takes much more time than you think, and thats enough from me.

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Quote Originally Posted by 516572647F48547871717272170 link=1330755650/17#17 date=1330989816
    ........getting back to my point, one of the main reasons why food outlets very often serve less than a satisfactory cup of coffee is because the retail clients themselves have no coffee education and are accepting mediocre product. ie the general public as a whole, is not very well educated about espresso coffee. Why should they be, they are emerging from generations of instant and filter coffee use at best, and into an explosion of interest in all things coffee and espresso / cappyouchino / lartaye that is accellerating beyond imagination. Dont confuse the market as whole with your CoffeeSnobs circles and the like that have a vastly elevated stanmdard of coffee education, but that makes up only an infinitesimal part of the market as a whole.
    Good point. To further add to this, the general public grew up with a "good" cup of "hot" coffee "strong and bitter". I was recently at a town on a rare holiday with my wife and daughter. It was a small seaside town with mostly an older demographic. Breakfast at a busy cafe I had a latte which was scolding hot and bitter. The same day I happened across a coffee house which do their own roasting. This place was completely empty. After ordering another latte that day, the owner ground the roasted beans as he dosed and looked like he took pride in making the coffee. perfect temperature and silky textured milk. I complimented him on his coffee and he was excited to discuss all things coffee with me. He told me it was difficult to educate people and he gets a lot of returned coffees because it was "cold". Just goes to show, it doesnt pay to be an advocate...literally. This place was empty while the other place was serving plenty of bad coffee and full of patrons. PLUS, this guy was selling his coffee cheaper than the cafe! Demographics does play a part and the mindset of your customers...you give what the customers want.

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    Re: The worst coffee of my life. A coffee snob is born.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I am stuck in my office in a shopping centre all day. A good cup of coffee is the one I can get! :) We have a Gloria Jeans and a Coffee Club here.

    Im thinking of asking my staff to chip in and buy a decent machine for the office. Do any of those "buy our coffee and have the machine for free" places sell decent coffee?



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